I tried yoga a few times in college, but could never seem to empty my mind and silence my inner voice. I could never seem to do what I thought was the key to yoga: to think about nothing. I would sit or lay there or hold a posture and my mind would be full and loud and would tell me, stop thinking about all this, you suck at this, you are too high strung for yoga. I would worry, I would make lists in my head and I would continue to berate myself for not clearing my mind completely. I would tell myself, even though I felt physically strong, that my mind was just not made for yoga. Then, after moving to Connecticut, I remember a life changing moment in my yoga practice. My teacher said to me that practicing yoga is not about clearing your mind and emptying out your thoughts, it’s about seeing those things, those worries, those to do lists, and just letting them go, even if it’s only for an hour and a half. Focus on softening, starting with your facial muscles, your cheeks, your forehead, your jaw, unclench your teeth, and for goodness sake, smile if it strikes you to do so! Make audible noises when you exhale, like “Ha!” if you need to. Don’t work to clear your mind, work to focus your mind, to experience it and take it all in.
I’m feeling invigorated after a Power Class last night that nearly made me pass out (I saw stars!). I am oh so sore today and loving it. Namaste!
Woah, you almost passed out? I’m slowly kicking my butt back into yoga as well. I’ve struggled with the same thing–not being able to turn off my mind. But I think it takes practice and, like you said, focusing those lists and worries into your practice. Keep up the good work, yogi!
Have a great trip! I hope you’re not too sore for your fancy Kripalu yoga classes! I love this post!